Garner Makes Admission Over His Forest Display

James Garner believes his performance in Everton’s 1-0 victory over Nottingham Forest was his best so far in a Blues shirt.

The midfielder, who spent 18 months on loan at the City Ground while signed with Manchester United, produced a dominant display for the Toffees on Saturday evening, playing the most passes for his side (36), as well as winning possession more times (13) than anyone on the pitch.

The 22-year-old says the Blues carried belief into the game, knowing they could earn a result because of their impressive away record, which now extends to six victories on the road in all competitions this season and three on the bounce.

“[Forest are] very good at home,” Garner told evertontv, speaking after the game. “They’ve shown that against some big teams, but this season, we’ve been very good away, so we knew we had a good chance.

“I’m happy with the way I played and with the way the team played. We came here to do the job and we did that.

“I think against United, the scoreline didn’t reflect the way we played. I thought we did well - especially in that first half against United. We knew coming into this game, with how we played then, we could play the same way.

“We created a few chances in the first half, and we knew we could get that opener. Dwight scored a top goal, which he scores every day in training, so I’m pleased for him and pleased for the team.”

Now a key figure in Sean Dyche’s side, only three Everton players (Jordan Pickford, James Tarkowski, and Abdoulaye Doucoure) have played more Premier League minutes than Garner this season (1,157).

Utilised in various positions during the opening weeks of the campaign, he adapted to feature at full-back, as well as on the wing for the Toffees. 

To become a regular in central midfield, it has taken patience, says Garner, who was voted by Evertonians as the Club’s Player of the Match for a strong showing in his favoured position against Forest.

“I think that was probably my best [performance for Everton] so far,” he said. “I think my overall game today was good. I don’t know what it was, but I was like a bit of a magnet today - the ball just kept on falling to my feet, and I just seemed to be in the right positions and making the right decisions for the team.

“I’ve been very patient, and I’m not that patient of a guy, really! I’ve come into the team and played in positions that I’ve not really played throughout my short career. I’ve finally got my chance in midfield, and I feel like I’ve taken it. The competition is very high so I need to keep on playing well and keep on pushing on my teammates.”

In light of the decision by the Premier League commission to deduct 10 points from the Club, Garner knows the squad’s unity will be a major factor in the coming months, adding: “It’s important we stick together. We’ve gone through a rough and tough few weeks, but we’re all in it together. We can all control what we can.

“Us as players, we can control what happens on a matchday, so we didn’t want to be aiming for relegation battles. We want to be aiming as high as possible.”